When purchasing a home it is important to understand the process or steps that need to be taken to assure you get the most value for your investment. This is important not only so you understand how much home you can reasonably afford, but also so your builder or realtor knows what they can offer you without wasting your time or theirs! When you're ready to research mortgages, a good place to start is at a local bank.
You can get a mortgage from many different sources, like mortgage banking companies, commercial banks, community banks, credit unions and other financial institutions. Yet mortgage brokers may be a vast source of information about different mortgage products available from a variety of sources. Included in these sources would be how to get the best loan for your credit score.
With pre-qualification, you can determine which loan program best fits your need and which programs you qualify for. You will also know exactly how much home you can comfortably afford. It's no fun to plan to build or find your "ideal home" and then find out you can't afford it or that you lost the bid because you did not have a prequalification letter.
Another reason for pre-qualification is that you will have an idea as to what your total monthly investment (your mortgage payment) will be. This will allow you to manage your finances before making this large investment. Berkshire Home Builders provides this link to mortgage calculator so you may get an idea of what you can afford to buy.
It shows you what the down payment and closing costs will be.
If you are a first-time buyer, you may be able to qualify for a special first-time buyer program which may allow you to afford more home for your money.
Prequalification will strengthen your bargaining position
∑† When you are a cash buyer.
∑† When you are just looking.